ACFW May Releases

It has a been a wild start to May for my household, so pardon the late post. Before moving on to all the ACFW May releases, I wanted to highlight the release of A Season to Dance by Patricia Beal, a friend and wonderful author. Come back next week to see my review of her new book on May 9th.

A Season to Dance
by Patricia Beal — The heart-wrenching love story of a small town professional ballerina who dreams of dancing at the Met in New York, of the two men who love her and of the forbidden kiss that changed everything. (General Contemporary from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)


May 2017 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:

Amish Brides by Jennifer Beckstrand, Molly Jebber, Amy Lillard — Under bright blue skies, wedding bells ring–fulfilling sweet dreams, impossible wishes, and joyous new beginnings among these three new stories. (Contemporary Romance from Kensington Publishers)

Sprouts of Love by Valerie Comer — An overzealous community garden manager delivers more than the food bank manager can handle. Can love sprout amid the tsunami of vegetables? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Summer Dreams by Delia Latham — God’s love…reflected in the waters of the Pacific, and in the eyes of a young couple who walk its moonstone shores. (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

Right Where We Belong by Deborah Raney, Melissa Tagg, Courtney Walsh — Three sweet stories of small-town romance by three tried-and-true authors. Whether in a quaint home bakery in Langhorne, Missouri, a cozy boho coffee shop in Maple Valley, Iowa, or a charming lakeside cottage in Sweethaven, Michigan, love grows best in small towns just like this! (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

A Spring of Weddings by Toni Shiloh and Melissa Wardwell — Two Spring wedding novellas, “A Proxy Wedding,” and “Hope Beyond Savannah.” (Contemporary Romance from Celebrate Lit Publishing)

True to You by Becky Wade — Former Navy SEAL John Lawson hires genealogist Nora Bradford to help him to uncover the identity of his birth mother. As they work side-by-side, this pair of opposites begins to suspect that they just might be a perfect match. (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

Cozy Mystery:

What the Bishop Saw by Vannetta Chapman — A fire blazes out of control in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, leaving an elderly, Amish bachelor dead. Bishop Henry Lapp rushes to the scene, and he learns the fire was no accident. When the police point the finger at a suspect Henry knows is innocent, the bishop must decide whether or not to use his mysterious, God-given gift—one he’s tried desperately to ignore all these years—to try and set the record straight. (Contemporary Romance from Harvest House Publishers)

General Contemporary:
A Season to Dance by Patricia Beal — The heart-wrenching love story of a small town professional ballerina who dreams of dancing at the Met in New York, of the two men who love her and of the forbidden kiss that changed everything. (General Contemporary from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Looking Glass Lies by Varina Denman — A poignant and relatable novel, Looking Glass Lies captures the war women wage against themselves, and the struggle to see beauty reflected in a mirror not distorted by society’s unrelenting expectations. (General Contemporary from Waterfall Press)


Blind Ambition by Carol Ashby — What began as a bored man’s decision to try a different road turns into an emotional and spiritual quest that changes the direction of his entire life. (Historical from Cerrillo Press)

Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette — A broken and bitter Canaanite woman dresses as a man to fight against the invading Hebrews, never expecting that she would live to be captured and married to one of her enemies, and certainly not to find love and healing among the very people who killed her family. (Biblical/Historical from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

Historical Romance:

The Secret Admirer Romance Collection by Amanda Barratt, Lorraine Beatty, Molly Noble Bull, Anita Mae Draper, CJ Dunham, Jennifer Uhlarik, Becca Whitham, Kathleen Y’Barbo, Penny Zeller — Shy expressions of love lead to nine historical romances. Declaring one’s love can be hard–even risky–especially when faced with some of life’s greatest challenges. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson — She lost everything to an evil conspiracy . . . but that loss may just give her all she ever wanted. (Historical Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho: Rebecca’s Plight by Susanne Dietze — It’s a mail-order disorder when newlyweds realize they’ve married the wrong partners with similar names. An annulment seems in order–and fast. But when the legalities take longer than expected, Rebecca Rice wonders if Tad Fordham wasn’t the right husband for her all along. . . . (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

A Love So True by Melissa Jagears — They begin with the best of intentions, but soon the complications pile up and Evelyn and David’s dreams look more unattainable every day. When the revelation of a long-held secret creates a seemingly insurmountable rift between them, can they trust God still has a good plan for them despite all that is stacked against them? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

Road to Harmony by Sherry Kyle — When Jonas returns to Harmony, Elena’s heart is torn between her secret love, and the storeowner her parents hope she marries. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Hills of Nevermore by Janalyn Voigt — Can a young widow hide her secret shame from the Irish preacher bent on helping her survive? (Historical Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

Romantic Suspense:
Fatal Mistake by Susan Sleeman — Each day could be her last…but not if he can help it. An FBI agent must protect the woman who can identify a terrorist bomber in bestselling author Susan Sleeman’s riveting romantic suspense novel. (Romantic Suspense from Faith Words [Hachette])

TBT: Merry Christmas – The History of the Nativity Scene

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I love the focus on kindness, charity, and family togetherness. The decorations are calming and enjoyable to me. In fact, I spend three days decorating my entire upstairs and downstairs and then three months enjoying it. Yes, my Christmas decorations do not come down before February. 🙂





Each section of my house has its own theme. We have one large bookshelf that I empty and my children decorate with a Christmas village. Then there is narrower bookshelf of nutcrackers given to my husband every year by his mother. We have a collection of dancing penguins given to my mother-in-law every year partying away in front of the fireplace.




I will admit the Christmas tree is beautiful, but I actually despise it. I hate putting it up, fussing with the lights, and then decorating it. But I do it every year because my husband loves the tree, my legally-blind mother-in-law loves seeing the lights, and my boys love decorating it.



However, of all these wonderful and sentimental decorations, my favorite is my collection of nativities. Just for the fun of Christmas and my own personal curiosity, I decided to do a quick post on the history of nativities. Enjoy my decorations and the interesting history of nativities through the ages.


The History of the Nativity Scene


St. Francis of Assisi is credited with staging the first nativity scene in 1123. According to St. Bonaventure, a Franciscan monk who wrote the biography The Life of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Francis got permission from Pop Honorious III to set up a manger with hay and two live animals – an ox and a donkey. He set up the manger scene in a cave in the Italian village of Grecio, and then invited villagers to come and gaze upon the scene while he preached about “the babe of Bethlem”. Supposedly, he was so overcome with emotion that he could not say the name “Jesus.”




My favorite nativity.



Nativity scenes as we know them today started in the 1300’s. First, they began as terracotta display pieces for Italian churches. At this time, Nativity sets were displayed year around.




My newest nativity made out of Kentucky coal.



In the mid-1500’s, they began to make their appearances in the homes of wealthy citizens. These were much smaller versions than the statues found in churches and were generally made out of wood, wax, or terracotta. The figures also began to develop beautiful clothing.




“Escape to Egypt” – made out of olive wood from Bethlehem.



Over time, the nativities spread to practically all Christian countries, each region giving its own flair to the set. The tradition in Germany is to display all parts of the Nativity with the exception of baby Jesus, who is only displayed after Christmas Eve. Although most Americans do not follow this tradition, our local non-profit hospital does follow this tradition.

What is your favorite Christmas tradition or decoration? Share below and if you can, attach a picture!

Merry Christmas!!!!

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